The New Puppy Owner’s Shopping List
We frequently hear the saying that caring for dogs and babies are not so much different from each other. Anticipating the arrival of a new member of the family, whether in the human or canine form, also entails similar preparations to be made – that is, an extensive shopping list is in order.
Luckily for the latter, a single trip to the pet supplies store can tick off almost everything in the new pup owner’s shopping list. However, it can be easy to give into the temptation and purchase everything that looks interesting and fun to use for your new pooch. Here, we list down the bare necessities that you will need to purchase, and we will try to help you make informed choices from the options available.
Dog Food and Bowls
There are two main ways to feed dogs — buying commercial dog food or personally home-cooking for them. Domesticated dogs are omnivorous, meaning they need a proper balance of meat and vegetables for their regular diet. While home-cooking fresh ingredients is a great way to ensure that your pet is eating clean and healthy, it can be time-consuming and making sure that they get the proper amount of each nutrient may be tricky. It is best to consult with a veterinary nutritionist who can give you a proper guide to follow so that your pup will be getting the proper amount of macros and micronutrients that it needs.
On the other end of the spectrum, most commercial dog food are formulated and approved by nutritionists to provide dogs the complete and balanced diet that they need. They save owners a lot of time from preparation, as well. However, not all commercial dog food are created the same.
Cheaper dog food, while meeting the required nutrient standards, may contain lesser quality ingredients. It’s best to invest in commercial dog food that may be a bit more expensive but contains good-quality components. Special formulations are available for certain breeds, age, and lifestyle of dogs. If you are adopting a dog with special needs or conditions, consult with your veterinarian about the ideal dog food to give. Avoid grain-free diets, because studies have linked these to a heart condition in dogs known as dilated cardiomyopathy.
You will need to have at least two dog bowls, one for food and another for water. The material of the bowl you choose shouldn’t matter as much as how often you would clean them. Dog food bowls should be washed with soap and water, taking care to remove all soap residues, at least every after meal if you feed your dog wet food, and at least once each day if you give dry food.
Dog Leash and Name Tag
Dog leash is a requisite for walking and training your dog outside. Between a collar and a harness, the latter is usually a better choice for dogs that are only starting to learn how to be walked and are thus expected to pull a lot. A harness distributes the pressure throughout the back and chest of the dog and is less likely to choke on your pup’s neck when it pulls too hard. Front-attaching harnesses are better for most large dogs, while back-attaching harnesses suit smaller-sized dogs.
Making sure your dog wears an identification tag when you walk outside ensures that should anything unfortunate happen, you have a better chance at finding your pooch.
How often your dog should take a bath varies depending on several factors, including its breed, lifestyle, and the length and thickness of its coat. Some owners choose to bathe their dogs once a week, while others are fine with monthly baths. The most you need for a bath is pet shampoo, but other than that, invest in good brushes, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, and eye and ear cleansers in order to complete the whole grooming process.
Long-haired dogs need to be brushed frequently to avoid matting of fur, and regular nail trimming and ear cleansing are also required to prevent discomfort and sickness. There are toothbrushes and toothpaste made especially for dogs, and brushing their teeth regularly can help prevent buildup of tartar and plaque.
Every dog owner’s priorities for a new pup is to housetrain them, or to teach them to do their business outside and only in designated places within the house. This is where pee pads come in handy. Potty training your dog will help keep your house floors pee-free and stink-free. Pee pads can also be used to dry your dog’s paws after a muddy or rainy walk outside.
As such, it is a good idea to invest in good-quality pee pads that are well-absorbent, leak-proof, tear-resistant, quick-drying, and odor-neutralizing. Some pee pads also have built-in attractants that help make potty training easier for you and your pooch. You can choose between disposable pee pads or more eco-friendly washable and reusable pads, or even grass pads that simulate the outdoors to motivate your dog to do its business only on the right places.
Dog treats are used to positively reward your pooch, to let them know they are doing a great job. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog, and treats work really well because most dogs love a tasty snack. They can be used for any type of training, from potty training to obedience training to teaching them cool tricks.
However, as much as you want them to know that they are a good dog, overfeeding with treats can lead to some dietary problems. A good rule of thumb is that dog treats should only make up at most 10% of your dog’s daily caloric needs. There are many kinds of dog treats available in the market, and some also work as dental treats to promote good oral health (although brushing is still the best option). You can also easily make homemade treats out of classic dog favorites, such as peanut butter, chicken liver, and pumpkin.
A Comfortable Bed
At the end of every fun day of walking, training, and playing, your pup deserves their own personal bed to rest and sleep in. A good dog bed is soft, comfortable, sturdy, and easy to wash and dry. An adequately soft bed will give your dog proper support for the whole body, letting them get a good night’s sleep (and mid-day naps) without restlessness. Some beds also have bolsters that are perfect for your dog to plop their head on. In the first few months at home, your dog may still be learning about potty training and obedience, and getting their bed soiled is inevitable.
Some dog beds come in covers that are machine-washable and chew-proof, allowing them to last for a long time. Additionally, if you are bringing home a puppy and wish for their bed to last long, choose one considering their expected adult size so that they won’t easily outgrow it. If you plan on adopting an older dog or one with special needs, consider investing in an orthopedic bed that is easy on their joints and gives adequate support to ease the pressure on their bones.
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